Joliet may be looking for a poet laureate

Poet laureate would be hired for two-year term with $6,000 honorarium

Joliet may be looking for a poet laureate.

The City Council will vote Tuesday whether to hire a poet laureate to write poems about Joliet, read poetry at ceremonial occasions and “champion the art of poetry and spoken-word art,” according to a staff memo to the council.

A poet laureate would be paid a $6,000 honorarium for two years of service.

A poet laureate likely would be a first for Joliet.

According to the staff memo, a poet laureate has been hired in other Illinois cities, including Rockford, Elgin, Urbana and Highland Park.

The proposal comes out of the Joliet Arts Commission, which was created in 2019 to promote the arts in the city.

“The selected poet laureate would be tasked with promoting cultural awareness, literacy and literature among city residents,” according to the memo.

Other responsibilities would include giving at least 10 public readings and conducting workshops free and open to the public. The poet laureate also would attend literary and cultural events.

If approved by the council, the proposal would require nominations for the petitions by April. The poet laureate would be chosen after finalists participated in a May 16 reading.

City officials could not be reached Friday for comment on the proposal.